It’s Friday the 13th and while that’s unlucky for some, for me it’s my last day of term: 7 weeks off. I think that’s pretty lucky!
I have been back in the country for 8 weeks, at work for 5 weeks and I’m popping over to Croatia on Sunday for a family wedding; missing the last week of term. But these last 5 weeks have done exactly what they were intended to do: ease me back in.
From day 1 it was already like I’d never left, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: “kids are kids no matter where in the world they are”. They are funny, resilient, brave, silly, annoying and a million other things in between. They are also dealing with things some of us can’t even begin to imagine. I get copied into the emails I see the problems these boys face, even the ones I don’t teach. I’m reminded why I came back, why I went back into teaching, why I truly love what I do.
It wasn’t easy coming in and having to assert myself from the outset, with little guidance about what is expected of me, I was given a lot of free reign. The support was there if I needed it and the department I work with are fantastic, but it was very much my classes and therefore my decisions. Which I loved. I had great easy classes of top set students and some very difficult classes. But I don’t give up easily I’m definitely a trier. I gave up almost every lunch and most afterschools with these students holding detention after detention and I gained some level of control, they listened better and worked harder. But on my last lesson with them after I attempted to do a fun pub quiz style game with them: they couldn’t stay on task, disruptive as I’ve ever seen them and LOUD. So it was my last lesson of the term with them had us doing maths from the board in silence (or as close to it as I could get), various students in other classroom and me left feeling a sense of losing the battle. Because I did lose the battle. I told a friend once if you scream at them, you’ve lost. And I screamed.
But that’s not how I remember the day! I had a fantastic class building sweet and toothpick towers, using the plikars app and giving out prizes. Because that is what teaching is. You have really bad lessons and really good lessons, but none of that defines the day. You have to search for the good and hold on to it. That last lesson could have soured my entire experience but it didn’t, it didn’t even stop me reusing that resource, I just finished another lesson who did fabulously with the pub quiz.
One of my favourite sayings is: “it’s all swings and roundabouts”
We are always having highs and lows, ups and downs, going round and round on a never ending wheel. Until we jump off and look back. See the bigger picture.
I’m heading into the summer excited for September. I have a new TLR, a first aid course to look forward to, a new class room, a new form and lots of plans I want to make a reality. Just typing all of that made me appreciate how far I’ve come in the last 5 weeks and I have the whole summer to develop myself, learn new things I can teach the students and prepare myself mentally to cope with the stresses of teaching. Not forgetting of course, a little traveling around Croatia – I’ll even be there for their world cup final! So it didn’t come home, it came pretty close!